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Cuba puts on sale 3.1 mn copies of proposed new constitution

A citizen in Havana reads a print copy of the proposed new Cuban constitution on Jan. 8, 2019, after a total of 3.1 million copies went on sale across the island so people will have the chance to read and analyze it before the popular referendum next Feb 4. EFE-EPA/Yander Zamora

A citizen in Havana reads a print copy of the proposed new Cuban constitution on Jan. 8, 2019, after a total of 3.1 million copies went on sale across the island so people will have the chance to read and analyze it before the popular referendum next Feb 4. EFE-EPA/Yander Zamora

EFE

Cubans can now acquire a print version of the proposed new constitution that will be the subject of a popular referendum next Feb. 4.

The text went on sale Monday at some locations in Havana and a total of 3.1 million copies are to be distributed across the island.

Parliament approved the final draft last month following a three-month process of popular consultation in which almost 9 million Cubans took part, incuding expatriates for the first time.

Correos de Cuba, the postal service, will distribute the tabloid with the constitutional text starting this week at its chain of offices and kiosks, ACN news agency reported, citing company Vice President Eldis Vargas.

Vargas said the document is 10 pages long and will cost 1 peso (roughly 4 cents) per copy.

He also said that with the number of copies printed, there will be an availability of 27 tabloids for every 100 inhabitants of the island, so people will have the chance to read and analyze it before the vote in which more than 8 million Cubans are called to take part.

The digital version of the constitutional proposal has been available since last week for downloading from official Web sites like Cubadebate and the page of the Communist Party daily Granma.

The document that emerged from parliament includes 760 amendments to the original proposal from a constitutional commission led by former President Raul Castro, who remains Communist Party chief.

While the final draft does not envision political changes such as ending the monopoly of the Communist Party, it recognizes private property and the importance of foreign investment, establishes a new post of prime minister and sets term limits for the president.

It also seeks to include the controlled economic opening and reforms promoted during Raul Castro’s 2008-2018 tenure.

The controversial amendment that considers the redefinition of marriage and would have opened the door to a later approval of same-sex unions was left out of the text, but with a pledge to revisit the issue within the next two years as part of a new legal code for families.

Though political campaigns are not allowed in Cuba, the government and allied organizations are promoting the “yes” vote for the new constitution on social media against the segment of citizens who openly oppose the project under the slogan #yovotono” (I vote no).


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